A Wine Lover's Diary, part 201 (August 11, 2008)
Monday, August 4: Wrote my monthly column for Lexpert on Riesling. Interesting that the 2007 vintage in Ontario and Germany is great especially for Riesling. Also wrote my reviews for 680 News and a commentary for Tidings magazine. Amazing what you can accomplish on a civic holiday when there are no phone calls or emails. For dinner, Flat Rock Riesling 2007 with stir-fry.
Tuesday, August 5: Interviewed Marc Russell, the proprietor of the Fine Wine Reserve, for my cellar book. Then a meeting at 2 pm with Paul Kostoff to discuss the new website concept. Downtown for 5 pm to have coffee with Jeff Lyons with regard to Grapes For Humanity's Maison Jadot dinner on October 20th. Finally, back home for 7 pm to meet Elliott Mackey of The Wine Appreciation Guild publishing house in California. He wants to republish the Global Encyclopedia of Wine, for which I did the Canadian content eight or nine years ago. The industry has changed so much since then. Opened a bottle of Colio CEV Meritage 2002 for him, with cheese.
This story on Decanter's website gave me a couple of lines for my monthly column in Post City Magazines:
Scientists are currently developing an electronic tongue that is set to be more reliable and sophisticated than the human palate.
Boffins at the Barcelona Institute of Microelectronics are still in the early stages of developing their 'e-tongue', as it is known, but the device is already able to tell the difference between certain grape varieties and vintages.
Using tiny synthetic membranes, each sensitive to different chemical components in a wine, the e-tongue can already distinguish the differences between the Chardonnay, Malvasia, Macabeu and Airen grape varieties. It can also tell whether the same wine is from the 2005 or 2004 vintages.
According to Dr Jiménez-Jorquera and colleagues working on the project, the samples analysed by device will be increased to get more precise results a form of sensory training.
The device works in the same way as the human tongue and is sensitive to sweet, salty, acidic, sour and savoury (umami) tastes.
Jiménez-Jorquera told Royal Society of Chemistry journal The Analyst that the e-tongue 'could be used to detect frauds committed regarding the vintage year of the wine, or the grape varieties used'.
'The awful, dirty little secret is that most collectors don't have the palate to know if there's really 1787 vintage Sauternes in that Château Yquem bottle or whether the damn thing was knocked up last week in a lockup outside Zurich out of old bottles and Tizer,' said Tim Haywood, food writer for UK website The Guardian.
I guess this could mean the end of wine writing as a profession. For dinner, a bottle of Stratus White 2005: deep straw colour; creamy peach and vanilla oak nose; full-bodied, richly extracted caramel and peach flavours; spicy, well balanced, good length with a toasty note on the finish. ****½
Wednesday, August 6: Recorded eight reviews for 680News, two more than usual since I'll be away a week on my annual fishing trip from August 14th. At 7 pm I am on a panel to discuss the Ontario wine market for the Independent Wine Education Guild's Diploma students at George Brown. We were discussing the market and I realized that the only global brand that Canada has is Inniskillin Icewine. With cheese, later that night, a bottle of Gallo Estate Chardonnay 2002 from Sonoma.
Thursday, August 7: Had an email from Sandro Boscaini to say that Donald Ziraldo (the co-founder of Inniskillin) has been awarded the Masi prize for "Veneto Civilisation" founded in 1981. Donald is the first Canadian recipient of the prize. Lunch at Grano with Stephen and Jacques Pauwels to discuss the itinerary for next year's wine tour. Chablis, Côte d'Or, Northern Rhône and maybe Savoie. Dinner with Anthony and Penny Bourne at The Bread Bar, an Indian tapas restaurant on Yonge, north of Lawrence, owned by Amaya. Excellent food, with a bottle of Henry of Pelham Reserve Riesling 2007.
Friday, August 8: A Vintages release tasting for September. Tasted 106 wines. Brutal. Came home and slept till dinner time.